As the season changes and autumn evenings draw in, what better time to start thinking about how to make our homes more energy efficient?
You may have seen that the Government plans to launch its Green Homes Grant scheme this month. It means people living in Mendip can apply for vouchers of up to £5,000 to go towards ‘green’ home improvements. For low-income families, the Government will fund 100% of the cost of the works for up to £10,000. For everyone else, the scheme will fund up to two-thirds of the costs. All homeowners and landlords can apply for the grant, which could help families save up to £600 each year on their energy bills.
I believe we have a role as a District Council to support the people of Mendip in taking up these opportunities. About a quarter of the district’s total carbon emissions come from the fuel we use to heat and power our homes, and that figure is expected to rise by 30,000 tonnes by 2030. So, while the financial benefits of the green scheme are obvious, it’s also hugely important we recognise the advantages in reducing our energy consumption, and helping Mendip meet the ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2030.
I strongly urge local tradespeople to sign up to the TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditations, so they can carry out works as part of the Green Homes scheme. If you need more information about the grants, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (www.cse.org.uk/advice) is a good place to start, whether you’re a homeowner or landlord.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to let you know about another excellent initiative launched in Mendip. We’re helping to protect our communities through the delivery of specialist safeguarding training to all our licenced taxi and private hire drivers.
Taxi drivers can play an important role in the safeguarding process, sometimes witnessing issues relating to vulnerable children and adults. Not only is it critical that our drivers are alert to these potential issues, but they must also know what to do if they have concerns. This training is mandatory in Mendip. It covers areas such as child exploitation, modern-day slavery and recognising signs of exploitation and abuse.
Due to COVID, the first sessions were delivered online. They were well attended, and received great feedback from drivers. News of our safeguarding session success hit the taxi trade press. This led a senior licensing officer from Trafford Council to contact Mendip and request they attend our training, with a view to replicating delivery back in Greater Manchester.
What a great example of shared best practice and how we can, and must, work together to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
If you have questions, or would like me to cover a particular topic in this column, please send me an email: [email protected].